Thanks for taking a moment with us. When did you first become a barista?
Two years ago. I’m in college, see, and needed some extra money.
Sometimes there are a lot of customers here. What is that like?
Yeah. At certain times we get totally slammed. People out the door and down the sidewalk. It gets really crazy. Seattleites love their coffee.
Is there a lot of pressure then?
When it is like that? I suppose. Hmm, I don’t know. I guess we just sort of go into the coffee zone. I’m like just pulling shots, steaming milk, wiping down, over and over. We’re all like robots, I guess. Make coffee. Make coffee. Go, go, go.
Do you have any interesting or favorite customers?
Oh, yeah, definitely. This one time we had this guy come in—he was tatted all over—and he like starts singing some sort of opera, I guess. And he got really into it. Dancing around. Sort of freaked people out.
And we got regulars that come in all the time. You kinda get to know them and be friendly. Talk about their kids or boyfriends or whatever. Sometimes I think I’m like a therapist or something.
Do you have a favorite drink?
Not really. I used to make myself a lot of mochas when I first started. Now, not so much. I’d rather just drink it black.
What’s the worst part of the job?
A-ha. An easy one. I hate having to get up super early when I’m on opening shift.
No beauty sleep those mornings?
(Amber laughs.) Nope. Not at all. Sometimes its just throw something on and go.
What’s the best part of the job?
After the rush. I get to sit down and go through the help wanted section of the paper.
A 300 word flash fiction. Photo is copyright by Chris Blakeley.